37 applicants vie for $118,000 fund pool

 Aero club seeks veto on local development

The last hundred thou or so of shire grant funds will come to council this Tuesday (23 May) for approval and, as is fitting with such a final distribution in a total shire budget of about $200 million, the pips are squeaking.

Placemaking-1We are down to $3000 here and $2000 there; the McCrae Yacht Club has just squeezed home with the final five thou (transferred from a separate shire fund), to help run a world yachting championship in 2018.

Some applicants missed out entirely.

These minnow-sized grants follow the submissions made for tens of thousands – even hundreds of thousands – which Bandicoot discussed in these electronic pages following the Section 223 council meeting held on 10 May.

The major topic for discussion that week was Peninsula Aero Club’s request for $100,000 for a large $100,000 concrete slab it stated was needed for emergency helicopters at its private airfield. (see ‘Bandits at 7 o’clock! Tyabb attacked’, More on that request shortly.

Those who missed out entirely as ineligible in this final round of “minnow” grants were Balnarring Community Garden (sought by Sequest) and Frankston Fort (Whitelion Inc). The Southern Peninsula Community Support and Information Centre, seeking to re-establish the Southern Peninsula Laundry and Shower – SPLaSh – Program were referred to for funding.

Bandicoot confesses to knowing nothing about either Sequest or Frankston Fort, and even less about SPLaSh.

Twenty-eight groups applied for sums up to $5000. Most got their money, or part of it. Guide Dogs Victoria got $2000 for a “three-day orientation and mobility tour” of the peninsula; Somers primary school got $5000 for a Cultural Ecology Garden; Rye Community House will use their $2500 for “Community Grow and Play Gardens” and Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association was granted $5000 for safety fencing around waterways.

To Bandicoot, it reads as low funding but high value for groups across the peninsula. See attached table for full details.

The Community Grants Policy aims to spread money equitably and transparently across the shire via programs that are “inclusive and understood by the community”, the report to councillors states. Shire officers evaluate applications for money – this year the pool was $118,000 – “to ensure Council and funding recipients remain appropriately accountable”.

Applications were assessed on merit in the following areas:

 Improves the physical environment of the local area;

 Enables a more accessible physical and built environment;

 Enhances a place through arts and culture;

 Creates a sense of belonging;

 Increases opportunities for social connection;

 Supports new activities in a public place;

 Is a collaborative community project;

 Strengthens the community through learning new skills; and

 Creates opportunities for a healthier lifestyle.

Councillors were told demand was $175,465 (in 37 applications), up $10,000-plus on last year.

Bandicoot wonders whether another, say, $50,000-$60,000 would have been better spent here than elsewhere in the shire budget, more remote from communities.


A shire proposal for the future of the airfield is now, so to speak, taxiing out for takeoff. The Tyabb Airfield Precinct Plan will try to square the interests of the 580-member Peninsula Aero Club with Tyabb township’s 3300 residents.

Tyabb Planning Maps 14z &15z annotatedFriction inevitably exists between airfields and locals, with noise being a key issue followed by safety. The club has posted on its website “Fly Neighbourly” advice for pilots using its facilities, which it states was developed in consultation with the shire, Air Services Australia and local residents.

The airfield can operate 24 hours a day, but circuit training is discouraged before 8am and after 8pm “or one hour after last light, whichever is the later”. Pilots are expected to minimise noise and not to conduct “aerobatic manoeuvres” over the airfield or within five km of it.

The Fly Neighbourly policy states that Tyabb will continue as a commercial and recreational establishment, which is expected to grow “to meet the increasing demands of its users and the growth of the Mornington Peninsula”.

State planning law regarding airports states: “An application to subdivide land [near an airport] must be referred to the airport owner…

It also stipulates that any application to subdivide must consider matters including:

 Whether the proposal will result in an increase in the number of dwellings and people affected by aircraft noise.

 Whether the proposal is compatible with the present and future operation of the airport in accordance with the appropriate airport strategy or master plan.

 The views of the airport owner.    (Below: form letter supporting PAC proposals.)

PAC pro- airfield form letterThe Peninsula Aero Club has made clear its views on what should not be built around its airfield. In its ‘Tyabb Flyer‘ edition dated 1 April this year it states emphatically that “no schools, nursing homes or private homes etc [should be built] directly under flight paths” of its airfield.

This is one of several objectives the club wants included in the Airport Precinct Plan by way of planning controls. It also seeks to have recognised “the value of our training facility, emergency response capability and our collection of heritage and warbird aircraft” as well as the “employment, business, tourism and investment” it asserts the airfield brings to Tyabb.

PAC late 3 Air-crane 'Elvis' clearances on Tyabb airfieldBut a question still unresolved is whether the airfield is an “airport” or an “airfield”. The shire describes it as an airfield. The aero club states it is an “airport”.

Bandicoot has written that it is not by definition an airport, since it has no facilities for passengers, is not listed with the Australian Airports Association, is not an RPT (regular public transport) airfield and is not registered as an airport with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

If Tyabb is not an “airport”, the aero club may not be entitled to the rights, outlined above, that it would otherwise have under the airport environs overlay in state planning law.

(See for earlier post.)    (Below: extract from PAC newsletter.)

PAC excerpt from flierA further pertinent issue concerns due diligence the shire may have done on the submission from the aero club on which shire officers may be basing their decision to provide any contribution sought to build the helipad.

Bandicoot is told shire CEO Carl Cowie sent an email on 27 April stating: “There is no separate officers’ report [on the aero club’s funds request], the submission was made by a member of the public and it is reviewed by officers and Council following the s223 process (10 May) to determine whether it will be included in the final budget.”

Presumably any shire due diligence would include seeking the official position of police, ambulance, fire brigade and other emergency bodies anticipated to be regular users of the airfield detailing their history of using Tyabb airfield and any support they have given the aero club in seeking funds from other sources.

Tyabb with a Bacchus Marsh sized Airport Environs OverlayThe Tyabb Ratepayers Group argues that any shire decision to fund the helipad “should be deferred until advice is received from the relevant [emergency services] authorities through the correct channels”. TRG had written to the services, but “Unfortunately no responses were received” before the s223 meeting.

The TRG also responded to several statements made by the aero club to councillors at the s223 meeting:

 Elvis, the big orange fire-fighting helicopter, can land at the proposed helipad.

TRG: Elvis requires a 150-metre square clearance area because of its powerful rotor “wash”. The 40-metre helipad provides only 50 metres’ clearance to the nearest building, less when new hangars are built. Because of this requirement, Elvis landed 350 metres south of the proposed pad site on 18 January last year.

 Jet fuel is not available at Tooradin.

TRG: This fuel is indeed available at Tooradin, for helicopters equipped with wheels. (Elvis has wheels.)